Permanent bench protection

Discussion in 'Science Technicians - General Discussion' started by Sciencey Sue, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Hi,

    We have very old wooden benches in some of our Science labs, which the students are gradually destroying further with their graffiti. We have considered sanding and re-varnishing but this would be a major task! Self adhesive bench protective sheets has been mentioned. We wondered if any technicians out there have any experience of such bench protection.
    Any thoughts welcome!
  2. Well Sue it seems that you have some Graffiti artists at work. As you say sanding and varnishing is a major task and all likely hood the problem would return with a vengeance. Why not tape Desk Guard to your benches? It is expensive but it does the job and will protect against Silver Nitrate, Chromate and Dichromate stains. If your artists write on it with markers all you have to do is wipe it with IMS.:);)
  3. Just leave them be, we had ours sanded at 1000 a bench and they were straight back with the compases right away, teachers to busy to check.

    they should just use cheap worktops and replace them every now and again.
  4. That's exactly what I would have predicted Paul!:D It really is up to the Teachers to look out for this and nip it in the bud.
  5. We sand and revarnish here - it's a summer job for the site team helped by the fact that we've got lovely old durable benches.
  6. Dod


    Protecting bench tops is as pointless as pi$$ing into the wind unless class supervision and discipline are really excellent
    Kay, JediiKnyght and BioBee like this.
  7. I wouldn't let them do it again, wood dust everywhere, then the cleaners came and moved all the stuff around.
  8. The only problem with bench protectors is that most of them are transparent so all it will do is forever immortalize the artists work for future generations :p

    I have always wondered if anyone makes resin based paints or heavily tinted varnishes, so you could simply paint over the mess and it would seal it in.

    With all that in mind though, sometimes seeing funny graffiti gets me through the day.

    Two of my personal favourites:

    1 - The entire lyrics to 'Billie Jean' by Michael Jackson, scrawled in with compass

    2 - A cover-up job involving transforming what used to be a 'male member' approximately a foot long, into a rather well done Cat..
  9. My first job on arrival was to sand and varnish all the benches. For protection, not graffiti removal, although there were a few bits I ground down. But it is a sixth form (ex grammar school wooden bench labs) without much graffiti. My previous HOD (another college) was passingly interested in putting whiteboard paint on all the surfaces, so the bench becomes a creative area for jotting. It didn't materialise so I never had to investigate how well it stands up to lab use or flames (and compasses!).
    JediiKnyght likes this.
  10. Many thanks for all your wisdom! The consensus seems to be that I'm wasting my time!!:p However, before I give up, I'd like to research George's suggestion of Desk Guard. I can't find it easily on Google/Ebay or Amazon. Is it a brand name, George, and does in come in sheets? :rolleyes:

    I'm tempted to go suggest to the 'Powers that be' that we go down a route I've seen in another school which is using table toppers that we technicians paint each summer - in the school colour! :)
    GeorgetheScienceTech likes this.
  11. I love that idea!!!
  12. Sorry Sue the name is BenchGuard® Extra It comes in large rolls, but you can get sheets.:);)
  13. Just hope you all had prepared a RA before sanding down benches (older ones are likely to be hard wood) and wore appropriate factor of PPE preferably with an extraction system in situation. If you are doing this on an annual basis and subjected to dust your employers may need to arrange health checks. I assume you all have HEPA filter hoovers as well and not simply brushing up dust?
    chemtech25 likes this.
  14. our old ones were teak i think, the new ones are iroko, both hardwoods.
  15. Thanks George. These appear to be absorbent sheets, though, so I imagine they'll soon look pretty messy with spills etc. Although you also say they can be wiped clean?? Perhaps I'll ask a supplier to send a sample. Meanwhile half-term looks like a desk-scrubbing week! ;)
  16. that is the responsibility of the cleaners here, it's in the service agreement.
  17. They are absorbent on one side and glossy on the other. We prefer to place the absorbent side on the bench so that the students have the glossy side facing them.
  18. you'd be better off giving them blotters to doodle on.
  19. I thought bench coat / desk guard stuff was laid paper-side-up, to minimize the distance spilt liquids would flow? I can see the appeal of laying it plastic side uppermost for cleaning off graffiti, but the stuff is meant to prevent hazardous liquids (toxins, radio-labelled samples, etc.) galloping merrily across the bench and down your front as well as preventing contamination of the actual bench. Once absorbed, the liquid waste is then 'solid waste' and can be peeled off the bench and safely disposed of more easily.
  20. Dod


    Sanding a wooden bench top is dodgy as the dust created will not only be wood dust but also the embedded remains of whatever substances that have been engrained, soaked in. Now try to remember all the stuff that has been spilled since the last sanding.
    I reckon the old wooden bench tops from a chemistry lab will never rot, just remain a biochemical hazard forever. :(
    BioBee likes this.